Autoimmune Diseases-Common types and treatment
The immune system protects you from diseases and infections. Autoimmune disease is a condition in which the human body defense mechanism- immune system mistakenly attacks itself. Assuming the body’s organs like skin or some specific tissues as foreign bodies and start destroying the cells and organs. Stem cell therapy has proved to be an effective treatment for autoimmune diseases.
Symptoms of Autoimmune diseases
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases known, and most of them have similar symptoms. Bearing the same symptoms in all types of AD makes it difficult for the healthcare practitioner for the diagnosis. The early signs of the disease include
- muscle aches
- low-grade fever
- hair loss
- skin rash
- numbness and tingling in hands and feet
Doctors often perform a combination of tests for the proper diagnosis of the Autoimmune disease. The antinuclear antibody test (ANA) is one of the first tests that doctors use when symptoms suggest an autoimmune disease. A positive ANA suggests the patient is suffering from the autoimmune disease but barely diagnoses the type of AD. Other tests that can be used for diagnosis are
- Th1 and Th2 Cytokine Blood Test Panel | Basic
- CD4/CD8 Ratio Test
- Vitamin D Test
Why does the immune system attack your body?
Researchers are yet unable to know the exact causes of the immune system attacking itself. But some people have a high probability of getting an autoimmune disease than others. The leading causes that lead to autoimmune disorders are
- Gender and Ethnicity
According to a recent study, women are more likely to suffer from an autoimmune disease than men. The ratio is almost 2to1 in females to males. The reason quoted by scientists is the excess of hormones levels during the childbearing years 15 to 40. One out of nine women of childbearing years are often diagnosed with an autoimmune illness
Also, some specific AD prevail in people with particular areas like the risk of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is high in west Africans compared with Europeans, and risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is high in Native Americans compared with Europeans.
Some autoimmune diseases are genetic disorders like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Also, some environmental factors like exposure to chemicals, infections, and viruses can be the reason for autoimmune disease.
- The western Diet
The unhygienic fast diets that are high in fat and sugar content are deemed as another reason for an autoimmune disorder.
Common Types and treatment of autoimmune diseases
Autoimmune diseases encompass a broad spectrum of ailments from organ-specific Hashimoto’s thyroiditis to some system-specific conditions like lupus erythematosus. These diseases are characterized by inflammation and the production of a wide range of auto -antibodies detected against multiple auto-antigens.
Some well-known autoimmune diseases are type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, while others are rare and difficult to diagnose.
- Type 1 diabetes
The most common type of AD in Pakistan is type 1 diabetes mellitus. The antibodies in your Immune system attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The patients need to take insulin shots for survival.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system produces antibodies that attach themselves to the linings of joints. Immune system cells then attack the joints and cause inflammation, swelling, and pain. Rheumatoid arthritis gradually leads to permanent joint damage. In Pakistan, around 550 people in every 100,000 are suffering from RA. Treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include various oral or injectable medications that reduce immune system over activity.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
When your immune system attacks nerve cells, causing symptoms that include pain, blindness, weakness, poor coordination, and muscle spasms. Various medicines that are given to patients help to suppress the immune system to treat multiple sclerosis.
- Graves’ disease
When the immune system starts producing antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to release excess amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood, this leads to hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease symptoms include bulging eyes, weight loss, irritability, and rapid heart rate. Doctors prescribe medicines to suppress over activity of thyroid glands. In rare cases, it is suggested to remove the thyroid gland, using drugs or surgery to treat Graves’ disease.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Antibodies that are produced by the immune system begin attacking the thyroid glands and destroy the cells that produce thyroid hormone. Low levels of thyroid hormone lead to hypothyroidism. Noticeable symptoms include fatigue, constipation, weight gain, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold. Sometimes symptoms get better or worse with time. It is prescribed by doctors to take an oral synthetic thyroid hormone pill to restore normal body functions.
Stem cell treatment for Autoimmune Diseases
When the immune system cant differentiates between healthy body tissue and antigens, the result is an immune response that destroys healthy body tissues and cells. Presently, autoimmune diseases are treated with immune suppressive medications like steroids, methotrexate, and, more recently, infliximab (Remicade). These treatments depict temporary improvement, but the procedure is life-long.
Stem cell treatment can heal damaged tissues and modulate the immune system to shut off pathological responses and preserving the body’s ability to fight off disease. Stem cells and specifically, mesenchymal stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties. The body’s immune system does not recognize stem cells as foreign, and therefore they are not rejected.
Shifa Regenerative & Rejuvenation Clinic, under the assistant of stem cell expert Dr. David Greene, has introduced the most advanced treatment for the patients suffering from Autoimmune Diseases in Pakistan. The institute is committed to providing state of the art facilities to its patients for improved quality of life.
For further assistance and diagnosis, you may contact at (051) 835-7790 or send an email at [email protected]
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